Monday, February 29, 2016

7 MORE To Do List: For the Growth of Tibetan Electoral Process





1. Voluntary Candidate for Sikyong:
In EC rules that governs the Tibetan parliamentary and Sikyong elections, there is an option for independent candidate to run as Voluntary Chitue. However, similar option is not provided for Sikyong.

2. Introduction of Tibetan Voter ID Card:
In India, citizens are provided voter ID card to avail their voting rights. At the time of voting, they are not required to provide any documents to satisfy their responsibility as a citizen such as tax documents. However, for Tibetans, the right to vote is tied to individual responsibility to pay their green book dues. This is a fundamental flaw in the Tibetan electoral process in particular and Tibetan democracy in general. If nothing changes, many future Tibetans in exile will turn unTibetan just because they did not pay green book dues.

3. Result Declaration at Local Election Center:
Local election committee and its officer should have a right to count and declare its results to their public (seems this right is provided in the EC rules). Counting of votes at one centralized location involves not only the risk but also the unnecessary high cost. For instance, Office of Tibet in Washington DC asked its local election committee/officer to send their ballot boxes to its office. If we look at the preliminary election in North America, the taped ballot boxes from its local election centers should have been voided. EC rules requires that the ballot boxes must be sealed. Moreover, who will take the responsibility if these boxes are tempered or lost in transit?

4. Polling Dates and Campaign Expenses:
After the result declaration of preliminary election by EC, there is only a couple of months for candidates to campaign as well as for the electorates to analyze and pick their right candidates. There should be more time for the public to assess their candidates. Moreover, the EC should make it mandatory for candidates to declare their campaign expenses periodically.

5. Strict Implementation of EC Rules:
Election Commissioners and its local commissioners should strictly enforce the set EC rules that governs the electoral process. They should keep a close watch and investigate any issues that relates to the non-adherence of any EC rules. Moreover, candidates use of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's portrait during their election campaign is a gross negligence of EC rules.

6. Introduce Social Media Code of Conduct for Candidates:
At the time of filing nomination by candidates, they should be made to declare their presence in the social media network. They should be made a part of EC's own social media network to keep a watch on their activities. Moreover, if there are any other profiles or pages that identify or represent themselves as individual candidates, it should be reported to Facebook Inc. for deletion or other necessary actions. Moreover, having a social media code of conduct for candidates will be helpful to curb the outflow of negative and demeaning election campaigns.

7. Different Dates for Sikyong and Chitues Election:

One date for Sikyong and Chitues election fails to garner the interest and debates required from the general public to identify, understand and pick their candidates for Chitues.


Note: I tried to keep these seven list short, simple and easy to understand. If you need more elaboration, please feel free to leave a comment. Wrote this piece at Kacheguda railway station while waiting for my next train to Mysore.




MUST READ: 7 To Do List: For the Growth of Tibetan Electoral Process


Friday, February 12, 2016

7 To Do List: For the Growth of Tibetan Electoral Process





ONE

Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has a responsibility to clarify the reason behind the postponement/cancellation of 2016 Kalachakra initiation at Bodh Gaya. They cannot be just a mere spectator in this entire episode of Kalachakra being used as an election tool. 

TWO

Election Commission should monitor the social media presence of Sikyong candidates. There should be no gross negligence of EC rules. 

THREE

Also, EC should watch the social media to make sure no CTA or election officers participate in the electoral process via their private social media profile such as announcement of election-related information and declaration of election results. 

FOUR

Tibetan in diaspora should move away from their public display of love and affection only for a candidate who comes from their own province or region. Recently, a few people from UTsang has resorted to unifying UTsang-pas in the wake of upcoming election. If provincialism or regionalism prevails, the future Sikyong will only be UTsang-pa. This will be a huge blow to the nascent Tibetan democracy. 

FIVE

Individual holding public position should refrain from supporting or disapproving any candidates for Sikyong or Chitue.

SIX

Current Sikyong and Speaker should not stand at the podium this coming March 10. Instead, their representative should deliver the statement. Candidates should not receive even a slight advantage because of their current position.

SEVEN

Debate between the two Sikyong candidates is a must. The general public will always be sandwiched between two truths or two lies propagated by these two candidates. The only option is sharing a single platform to put candidates face to face.